Google Monopoly…Now a Board Game! (Online)

When you think of “Google”, the word “search” comes to mind, but if you think a little more the word “monopoly” seems to be there somewhere. Google grows to an online giant and there are always those who fear that it is getting too powerful so far ahead than any other that is becoming an online search/advertising monopoly. Still, i will not be discussing any of these fears on this post. I will only be presenting a new way of combining the words “Google” and “Monopoly” in an online version of the popular board game. Monopoly is getting online as a game of property empire building on an unimaginable scale in a bid to uncover the greatest property magnate the world has ever known. The entire planet will be pitted against one another in an online game of MONOPOLY turning the Google Maps Globe into one giant game board!

All the details aren’t clear yet, although the game launch is set for today September 9, 2009. But it would appear that Hasbro, makers of the Monopoly game, is attempting to turn the franchise into a massively multi-player online game. Called “Monopoly City Streets”, here’s a brief description that is offered on the teaser site:

The goal is simple. Play to beat your friends and the world to become the richest property magnate in existence.

Own any street in the world. Build humble houses, crazy castles and stupendous skyscrapers to collect rent. Use MONOPOLY Chance Cards to sabotage your mates by building Hazards on their streets.

It’s also not clear if this game will be an official partnership with Google, or if Hasbro is simply using the widely available Google Maps APIs. But the tie-in goes a bit deeper, as is revealed on the blog it set up for the game (on yes, Google’s Blogger platform). A post from Friday reads:

We still need 3 new building designs and we’d like YOU to design them!

MONOPOLY and Google SketchUp fans worldwide be sure to check back from next Tuesday 8 September for entry details and the chance to show the world your ultimate 3D building creation.

So it’s not just Google Maps, but also SketchUp that Hasbro is utilizing for this game. The UK’s Guardian is reporting that the game will run for 4 months. They’re also reporting that players starting a new game will get $3 million to play around with.

Without seeing it in action, this sounds like a brilliant idea for a massively multi-player online game. You’ll apparently be able to buy any property in the world. Of course, the social element that links together will be key, and it’s not yet clear what that will be. The Monopoly City Streets blog uses Google Friend Connect, but perhaps the game will have its own social web.

So let’s see what Monopoly City Streets is all about!